West coast leaders sign new climate deal

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California Construction News staff writer

California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia governments have signed a new Statement of Cooperation (SOC), recommitting the region to climate action.

The partners will work to speed up the transition to a low-carbon economy by investing in EV charging stations and a clean electric grid, and protecting communities from climate impacts like drought, wildfires, heat waves and sea-level changes.

“In California, we punch above our weight when it comes to climate action – but our actions can only do so much without the rest of the world at our side,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at the signing ceremony. “The Pacific Coast is raising the bar for tackling the climate crisis while also ensuring every community is included in our efforts. The West will continue to lead the way toward a carbon-free future that supports our economy, our people and our planet.”

The agreement includes the following commitments:

  • Support an equitable and just transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future, emphasizing investments in overburdened communities.
  • Invest in climate infrastructure, such as EV charging stations, green ports, and a clean and reliable electric grid across the region.
  • Protect communities and natural and working lands from wildfire, drought, heat waves, ocean acidification and flooding.

It was signed last week at the Presidio Tunnel Tops in San Francisco. The project, which completed earlier this year is considered a “model for building climate resiliency in urban areas and providing equitable access to green spaces.”

“This new agreement reaffirms our commitments to decarbonize our economies at a time when the consequences of victory or defeat in this effort have never been more acute,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “Together we will invest in an equitable transition to a cleaner future, build the climate infrastructure we need, and protect our communities from climate-driven wildfires, droughts, heat and flooding,”.

Last month, California enacted some of the nation’s most aggressive climate measures in history as Newsom signed a sweeping package of legislation to cut pollution, protect Californians from big polluters, and accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy – an essential piece of the California Climate Commitment, a record $54 billion investment in climate action.

Also last month, Newsom signed legislation to help protect Californians from more frequent and severe heat waves driven by climate change. The legislative action comes on the heels of California enacting a regulation to phase out sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035.

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